Spider silk: Material of the future?

Spider silk: Material of the future?
Strong, tough, sticky, elastic and biodegradable, silk may be used for a mesh to support injured tissues, or as a temporary container for drugs, stem cells and growth factors. As scientists divine the secret of how spiders and silkworms make silk, they are finding ways to engineer silk into medical devices. More »

News flash from the firefly!

field alit with firefly lights

Most fireflies flash on their own schedule, but some do it all at once. In most animals, the guys try to stand out from the crowd – but these flies try to make a crowd! What’s the evolutionary advantage? What can we learn about bug-brains from the “all-at-once” display of synchronous fireflies? More »


A recent study published in the journal Nature has revealed that insects are closely related to crustaceans such as crabs, shrimp and lobsters. In this image is a remipede (Speleonectes tulumensis), a rare type of blind, cave-dwelling critter that is… More »

Animal arms race

Animal arms race

The struggle between predator and prey never ends. Bats invented sonar, and now some moths are fighting back. Check out the Why Files acoustic-organic warfare, airborne edition. More »

Tree frog’s foot yields re-stickable glue!

Most adhesives can’t be reused. But a radical new design, based on the foot of frogs, lizards and insects, shows how engineers can learn from nature to make smarter materials. More »

Polyandry: Bees do it. What’s the big advantage?

A honeybee queen mates with 15 guys. This weakens family ties in the hive, possibly hampering the selfless behavior these bees need for survival. Does polyandry have hidden benefits for bees? More »

Ants: My Family, Right or Wrong!

The Argentine ant invaded California 100 years ago, forming “super-colonies” that stretch hundreds of miles. Most ants attack nearby nests. Why have Argentine ants declared peace with neighbors? More »

Mosquito Songs: Super Sexy?

After boy and girl mosquitoes meet, they synchronize their wingbeats. What does this tell us about how insects use sound? More »

GM Food + 10 Years: Safe to Eat?

More than 100 million hectares are planted each year. What do we know about food safety? How is GM food doing amid the explosion in sales of organic foods? More »

Evolutionary Mystery: Bizarre Beetle Horns

They may seem like the lowliest members of the animal kingdom, but dung beetles around the world sport a spectacular diversity of ‘horns.’ The strange appendages have forced biologists to reassess their understanding of evolution. More »

Cicada Cascade

Like a chamberful of pork-barreling legislators, cicadas are on the wing in Washington, D.C. Voracious. Unstoppable. A force of nature: 17-year cicadas are back! More »